The Election Commission’s recommendation that anonymous donations to political parties be capped at Rs2,000—currently, the cap is Rs20,000 as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, but enforcement is lax—has come at an apt time. When the Narendra Modi government has ostensibly taken the fight against corruption to the doorstep of every citizen with the currency swap initiative, it is in the fitness of things that the government now take the next logical step of bringing transparency into electoral finance.
Unfortunately, political parties have resisted all such efforts over the years. There is little reason to suspect things will be different this time around. And there is a larger question in play as well—if political parties could render the earlier cap meaningless by claiming the bulk of donations came in under it, what’s to stop them from doing the same with the new cap?
Perhaps eliminating anonymous contributions or mandating that all contributions be made digital is the way forward.